Inadequate Government Staff

24/08/2009

The majority of government employees in India is not fully devoted to duty. There are avoidable and long delays in rendering services. However, even if all the staff put in 8 hours of devoted duty, there would still be delays and work to attend to. Contrary to widespread belief, there is need for more public service staff.

According to government statistics, the staff strength in various governments in India is as below;

Source: Government of India Statistics

Source: Government of India Statistics

Consider the central government, the Indian Railways and Ministry of Communications together employ about 2.4 million employees. This leaves only 1.0 million employeesto deal with the remaining innumerable issues!

Unfortunately the 5th Pay Commission, instead of recommending an increase in staff strength, has recommended reduction in staff. Malaysia with a population of less than 25 million has government staff strength of 0.85 million. At this rate, India for its population of over1,150 million should have an employees strength of about 40 million, i.e. about twice the present strength.

Canada with a population of about 30 million employs 28.5 million staff in government services at federal, provincial and municipal levels. For central government service, Canada employs 500,000 staff. At a comparable rate in India, the central government should have 16 million employees, but it has less than 4 million. Similarly, the total government and quasigovernment employees should be 80 million against the present strength of 20 million.

During 1995 in Japan, the ratio of civil servants (employees of national and local governments and public enterprises) to the total population was 3.8%.  The ratio was 7.5% in the United States and 9.7% in France, but in India, it was only 2%.

In order to avoid delays and render quick and quality service, it is necessary for India to increase the number of government employees.


Faulty Recruitment System in Indian Government Service

24/08/2009

In India, officers of the central government are usually recruited through competitive examinations conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (for senior officers) and Staff Selection Commission (for junior officers). For services in the state governments, recruitment is made through Public Service Commissions of the states.

These examinations typically have papers on the English language, general knowledge, arithmetic and papers on subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, engineering, history, economy, geography, medicine etc. However, knowledge in these subjects is not quite relevant to the requirements of the job these officers will handle. Furthermore, knowledge in these subjects has already been tested in the university examinations.

So what is the alternative? The examinations and interviews should simply test whether candidates have aptitude for the public service they are to be recruited for, whether they are willing to put in extra work, whether they are willing to learn, understand and take interest in the problems of the people, whether they have the positive attitude to solve these problems of the people and such similar things.

The present system of recruiting candidates with memory power and high marks, that too, in subjects unrelated to their future work has not helped the country in the 62 years since independence. One finds innumerable cases of top rankers winning promotions much later than their juniors and top rankers not getting important postings. This confirms the view that getting good marks in competitive examinations should not be the consideration for selecting candidates for government jobs.

A wholistic assessment of candidates’ attitude and aptitude for public service is required.


Common people and Economic development

16/08/2009

During the 62 years since independence, India has developed considerably. However, its development could have been even greater if the people had worked hard, been self reliant and conscious of  dignity.

It would help a lot if common people take an oath on Republic Day and on Independence Day and adhere to the same. The oath should include the following:

  • “I will not treat any work as undignified and will work for at least 8 hours a day and six days in a week.”
  • “I will not hesitate to contribute my labour to the extent possible for public cause or to help those in need of assistance.”
  • “I will keep myself and my environment clean.”
  • “I will not accept bribes in cash or in kind from political parties to vote in any election.”
  • “I will not aspire for things which do not belong to me.”
  • “I will report to the concerned authorities all information which I come to know about all the crimes and criminals.”

Wholesale price index and Consumer price index

10/08/2009

In India, the Wholesale Price Index has declined during a few months in 2009. But the All India Consumer Price Index has increased during this period. While the baskets of commodities differ in wholesale price index and consumer price index, there are several common items like food items and consumer goods. Why is the decrease in wholesale price index not reflected in the consumer price index? Some of the reasons are the increase in the cost of manpower at retail stage and the increase in transportation charges.

Three years ago, a woman general worker (manual) used to get wages of Rs.40 per day. Petty shop keepers and hawkers were satisfied when they got profit of Rs.50 on their sales in a day. Now women workers are getting around Rs.100 per day. Shop keepers and hawkers are not satisfied if they earn Rs.50 a day as in the past. They want a profit of Rs.125 on their sales in a day. The volume of sales remains more or less same.  If the purchase price of the commodities were Rs.200, the sales price which used to be Rs.240,(200+40)  would have gone up to Rs.325 (200+125) i.e. by about 35%.

When the private sector management was negotiating revision of pay scales of their employees downwards, the government increased the salaries of its employees. The government could have postponed implementation of the 6th pay commission report. Similarly, the government could have avoided increasing minimum wages in different sectors.


Vegetable prices and Wage increases

05/08/2009

There has recently been a lot of noise about the rise in vegetable prices. The print and electronic media are exaggerating.

While the wages/salaries have been increasing steadily, the prices of vegetables, although fluctuating, have not increased. The prices of vegetables on 30 October, 2005 and 28 July, 2009 at Koyambedu market are given below.

Source: Koyambedu Market Traders

Source: Koyambedu Market Traders

While prices of a few vegetables have gone up, the prices of some other vegetables have come down. The media has made it appear that the prices of all vegetables have gone up and that the people are not able to buy vegetables. This is incorrect.

Such wrong news induces shopkeepers to increase the prices even when there is no basis for such increase. The media should not sensationalize the news. If at all there is a case, it is for increase in the prices of vegetables in proportion to the increase in wages/salaries.